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One of the biggest strengths of Lightroom is collections. What collections allow you do is to group images together in a way that is not contingent, or is not dependent, on folder or a file location. In other words, you can take images, which are located on different hard drives, or different folders or different locations, and you can group them together. In the previous version of Lightroom, you were only able to do this in the Library module. We can see, in the Library module, if we scroll down, we have a Collections panel. Well, new to Lightroom 3 is that we also have collections inside of the Develop module.
What we're going to do is go ahead and create a collection here. What I'm going to do is click on the Plus icon and create a collection set. I'm just going to call this collection set Sports. You can think of a collection set kind of as a box. That's what the icon is: a box with different separating folders inside of it. So, if I want to create a collection inside of this, I'll click on the Plus icon, and say Create Collection. Here, I'm going to create a collection related to surfing in this set of Sports. I'll hit Create. Well currently, there aren't any images in this collection, so what I'll do is I'll press the G key to go back to the Grid view mode in the Library module.
Now here, I'm going to open up my Collections panel. You'll notice that it recognized the collection I created in a different module. This is really helpful because sometimes we'll be in the Develop, we'll work with Collections, where we can continue our work in Library, and then bounce back, and so on and so forth. So, here what I'm going to do is go to my outdoors folder, and I have a couple of images here where someone is surfing. So, I'll grab those images, drag and drop them to this collection. I'm going to go to this surf_sponsor folder. This guy is a professional surfer, a really, really good surfer with tons of style. And I'll drag those to that folder.
Then I'll go to my surfers folder, and again, a few more surfers here that I want to include in this mix. Now, as I do this, one of things that I'm trying to point out here is that I've grabbed images from different folder locations; yet, when I click on this collection which is titled surf, I now have this group or this set of images. Typically, the way that you organize your folders, at least in my case, is by date. So in my own folder library, I have the date and then the name of the shoot. Now, that isn't always relevant because sometimes I have different subjects in different folders, but I can use collections to create some order out of the chaos, so to speak, to begin to create these groups or sets of photographs.
And also, just for the record, one of the things that distinguishes pro photographers from amateurs or enthusiasts or hobbyists is pro photographers are able to create really solid sets of images, not just one image or two images, but this collection that has this thread, this continuity throughout it. So, not only are collections good organizationally; they're really good creatively. What some of my student photographers do is they create collections based on the different things they want to shoot. They're always dragging their photos into them in order to create a strong portfolio set of a particular type of photograph.
Well, whatever your use here, one of things you can see is that you can take full advantage of collections inside of the Develop module. The last thing to point out here is you can also take advantage of how you sort these images. In other words, in the toolbar, if you click on the Triangle icon, you can turn on and off sorting. You want to turn that on, and here we have some other options. We can sort based on their ratings, or seeing the images with a higher star rating first. We can also sort by their file name or their label, or we can choose User Order.
Sometimes, this is helpful. Let's say we want to put two different images side-by-side. We can do that and start to relocate files, and have a user order, which could then help if we're going to use this collection in a couple of different ways, say a slideshow or a Web gallery. Currently, what I'm doing is I'm doing my sorting in the Library module. Well, if I press the D key to go to the Develop module, what's going to happen is it's going to remember, or recognize, whatever sort order I had previously. Again, sometimes this is helpful, so we can start to process images in a certain way, or bring images together or whatnot.
So, what you're going to start to see is as you work with Collections inside of the Develop module, you can create and modify these collections here, but you are going to tend to jump back and forth between the Library and the Develop module so that you can get the most out of this new feature inside of Lightroom 3.
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